When former Salt Lake County Attorney Ted L. Cannon showed up in court Monday afternoon to address probation-violation charges, the judge observed there was something wrong with the courtroom scene.
Two years ago, the Salt Lake County attorney's office had been disqualified from conducting a grand jury investigation because one of the targets of the allegations was the county attorney's office.To avoid a conflict of interest, two special prosecutors, Rodney Snow and Larry Keller, were assigned to handle the case against Cannon in 1986.
Yet Monday, the man sitting sitting at the prosecutor's table, Scott Reed, represented . . . the county attorney's office.
Addressing Reed, 3rd District Judge Leonard Russon said,"Cannon was once the county attorney, certainly the county attorney's office shouldn't be involved in this case."
Reed replied that he had been assigned to the case.
Keller, also present in the courtroom, was obviously miffed with the situation. He explained that he would not have even known about the probation-violation hearing if Russon's clerk had not informed him of it Monday morning.
The judge said Keller and Snow have never been released from the Cannon case that they successfully prosecuted in 1987.
"You're still in the saddle, Mr. Keller," Russon said. The judge continued the hearing until Dec. 27, assigning Keller to handle the matter.
Cannon, putting sunglasses on as he left the courtroom, did not speak to reporters.
Robert Van Sciver, Cannon's attorney, told reporters why his client is contesting allegations that he has violated his conditions of probation. The issue will be argued in court Dec. 27 at 1:30 p.m. before Russon.
After being indicted by the 1986 Salt Lake County Grand Jury, Cannon was found guilty April 1987 of misdemeanor charges of defamation and official misconduct. In May 1987, he pleaded no contest to reduced assault charges and attempted misuse of public money as a part of a plea bargain.
More than a year ago, Russon fined Cannon more than $2,000 and imposed a six-month jail sentence. The sentence was suspended on condition that Cannon pay the fines, stay out of trouble and serve 30 days in jail.
While Van Sciver concedes that Cannon has paid only $200 of his more than $2,000 in fines, he says it is too late for Adult Probation and Parole to collect. Cannon's probation ended in June 1988. Statute requires that AP&P make a complaint at least 45 days before probation is terminated.
In a recent court complaint, AP&P is contending that Cannon has not paid his fines, failed to report to his probation officers and failed to take medication as part of a psychological treatment plan.
During an earlier Deseret News interview, Cannon said he has not paid all his fines because he has not had a stable income. Cannon has a private law practice, but he has recently lost his home because of lack of money.
"I have been taking my medication. And, I've been receiving continual medical treatment," said Cannon.
"The problem with the probation officers is because of the turnover. I've had five different officers and never met two of them."